Strawberry Roses + Light and Lemony Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry Roses + Light and Lemony Cheesecake Bars

It’s already time for another #RecipeRedux post! I cannot get over how quickly this summer is flying by. . .so exciting but also so many more things to get done before August! For this month’s challenge we were asked to get creative with produce: 

With produce galore, now’s a great time to enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables. Show us how you’re serving the bounty of gardens and orchards in shapes like ribbons, noodles, cut-outs, or other creative cuts.

I clearly have wedding-brain and decided to give a shot at strawberry roses. And guys, it is not has hard as it looks! (Trust me, I have no drawing, painting, sculpting, etc abilities)

Rose strawberries

Start by holding your strawberry by the stem. Using a paring knife, place the blade about half way up the strawberry and cut straight down, being careful not to cut all the way through. That’s your first lower petal. Repeat around the strawberry – you will likely get 4 petals. First cut

Next, we are going to cut the next layer of petals in between the first row. See those edges between the first row of petals? Take your knife and, at an angle, cut inward and carefully bed you knife back to get the petal to round out. Repeat with remaining 3 edges (if you had 4 lower petals). 

Second cut

Now for the top. Take you knife and starting at the base of the remaining strawberry part (the portion that hasn’t been cut into yet) cut into the strawberry and spiral up until you cut the very tip of the strawberry off. 

To add some texture to the top you can make little slits and fan them out a bit. There you go! It took me about 2 strawberries before I got the hang of it. 

Rose strawberry

Rose strawberry 2

While these roses are gorgeous on their own, I wanted to continue with the wedding theme and put them on something white. Yes, I could have made a white cake, but I’m trying to save my cake-stomach compartment free for actual wedding cake in a few weeks. Instead I went with a recipe I made for Bry the first summer we were together. He had just come back from 6 weeks in Italy (which when you just start dating someone feels like an eternity) and I wanted to surprise him with some home-baked goods. The first baked good was bagels as he said it was the one food he missed the most while he was gone. Done. But I also remembered him saying once that cheesecake is one of his favorite desserts. These lemon cheesecake bars are a lighter take on the originals I made for him.

Cheesecake bar

While there is nothing earth-shatteringly new about using lighter cream cheese (NOT fat free cream cheese though), Greek yogurt, and egg whites to lighten up the calories, I put my lemon twist by subbing out graham cracker crumbs with lemon cookie crumbs. Simple yet SO good. Specifically I used mayer lemon cookie thins, which you can find at Trader Joes, but any crispy lemon cookie will work.

Rose strawberry cheeseake 2

Beautiful, summery, and at only 135 calories per bar no need to worry about fitting into my dress ;P

So here’s a toast to making something beautiful out of a summer fruit staple!

Light and Lemony Cheesecake Bars

These light and lemony cheesecake bars are my go-to party dessert. Perfectly creamy, no one will guess that they're less than 200 calories!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Chilling time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheesecake, Cream cheese, Healthy, Lemon, Strawberries
Servings: 12
Calories: 135kcal
Author: The Healthy Toast


For the Crust

  • 28 meyer lemon cookie thins 3/4 cup-worth of crumbs
  • 2 Tbs butter melted

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 8- oz low fat cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup 0% fat plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberry roses for garnish optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8x8 baking pan with foil.
  • Place lemon cookies in food processor and pulse until small crumbs form.
  • Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter in a small mixing bowl, then press mixture into baking pan.
  • Place crust in oven and bake for 8 minutes.
  • Remove crust from oven and make filling while crust cools off a bit.
  • Using a mixer, beat softened cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add in Greek yogurt, flour, sugar, and egg whites. Beat until creamy, it took me about 2.5 minutes.
  • Add in vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
  • Pour filling evenly over prepared crust and place in oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, place foil over cheesecake to prevent it from getting too brown. Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until set.
  • Remove cheesecake from oven and place in fridge for at least 3 hours.
  • After your 3 hours are up, slice into 12 pieces, serve, and enjoy!


For 1/12 of recipe: 135 calories, 8g fat, 11g carbohydrate, 8 g sugar, 5 g protein
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Add a comment


  • Kelly Sloan AvatarKelly Sloan6 years ago

    I am OBSESSED with the roses trend and these strawberries look perfect! I will try (and try many times!) to make these roses and recipe 🙂

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast6 years ago

      Thanks Kelly! Haha I’m sure you’ll get them down quick – I have no artistic ability and finally managed a few good ones 😉

  • Glenda @ A Less Irritable Life AvatarGlenda @ A Less Irritable Life6 years ago

    Oh goodness, those rose strawberries like just divine. Such a lovely way to dress up a simple cheesecake.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast6 years ago

      Thanks Glenda! I was surprised how easy they actually were to make.

  • Farrah AvatarFarrah6 years ago

    Those strawberry flowers look so pretty and these cheesecake bars look like the perfect summer dessert! <3!!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast6 years ago

      Thank you so much Farrah! I hope you give them a shot, they are perfectly summery 🙂

  • Jessica @ Nutritioulicious AvatarJessica @ Nutritioulicious6 years ago

    these look amazing! Love the strawberry flowers and that cheesecake looks so good and I’m super impressed w the nutrition facts!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast6 years ago

      Thanks Jessica! I know, I was shocked they were that low, I had to re-calculate it several times to be sure.

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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